The Sakura Illumination that took place at Charleston Park tonight was a truly magical experience.


When I got there shortly before 8:00pm, it wasn’t dark yet. The lanterns were turned on and the two Tree Fairies performers were rehearsing their dance routine celebrating the arrival of spring.


When the sun was set, the Tree Fairies, Cherri and Blossom, began their beautiful dance accompanied by mesmerizing music. Lights were projected over the white Ukon cherry blossoms.


When the 10 minute dance routine was over, people were invited to wander around the cherry trees and take pictures of the lanterns.


The light inside the lanterns changed from white, yellow, blue, green, red.  It was beautiful.


The lanterns offered a unique view of Ukon cherry blossoms at night.


After 20 minutes of admiring the lanterns and wandering under cherry blossoms, spectators were asked to return to the viewing area for the next dance performance by Cherri and Blossom.


I moved to get a wide shot.  From the back row, even though you couldn’t see the dance performance, you could see the beautiful lanterns, the light show, and hear the music.


The crowd at the performance was composed of families having picnics, friends, and lots of photographers.  The atmosphere was very friendly. There was about 200 spectators.


Charleston Park is right next to the seawall. You could see the Granville bridge in the distance.


Sakura Illumination was created by Stuart James W. from HFour.  I really liked how they allowed spectators to get up and wander under the trees between performances, making this a truly immersive experience.

‘Yozakura’ (cherry blossom viewing at night) has been done in Japan for many centuries. Seeing our beautiful Vancouver cherry blossom illuminated was a unique experience — made even more special by the fact that this year, Sakura Illumination was a ‘one-night only’ event.

Photo credit: Jessica Tremblay